“But every seed is useless if it remains as it is, if it does not decay and become black; because corruption always precedes generation. It is this way that Nature proceeds in all its operations, and when we want to imitate it, we must also blacken before whitening, without which we will only produce rejects.” 

La Lumière sortant par soi-même des Ténèbres, Carrelage

Viewing the work is witnessing a protracted collision of processes. An evolution of matter. Exposed, concealed, exposed, concealed - continuously. The consequence of years spent. My history merging with the history of the elements used. 

I have no interest in illusionistic ‘texture’ – the work must be its own entity – have its own story. Be its own statement. It is an organic object - a living thing. 

Histolysis – tissue breaks down, material metamorphosis’s, through chaos and control. Destruction, erosion, decomposition - detritus leads to new creation. The work carves its own path, moved by forces beyond my hand and control, like rock moved by an unhurried glacier. 

I would like to think that my paintings at their best, allow me to contemplate a cycle of existence. Not a beginning with an end but a journey where genesis leads to dissolution, and on once again to genesis. An ongoing sequence beyond mortal confines. Something eternal. Alchemy.

Richard Nott, 2014


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Richard Nott is a British artist born in 1963 in Cornwall. He currently lives and works in west Cornwall.

Richard Nott’s paintings are unique. There are no oil or acrylic paints in his studio, he works with industrial materials, bitumen, emulsions and varnishes, building them up layer upon layer, often over intimately drawn or gouged grids, lines or marks, into a textural palimpsest, before courageously scraping or burning them back to reveal what lies underneath. Viewing Richard Nott’s artwork is witnessing a protracted collision of creative and destructive processes. An evolution of matter, exposed, concealed, exposed, concealed, continuously. His paintings become the consequence of years spent where Nott’s history merges with the history of the elements used. He has little interest in illusionistic ‘texture’, the work must be its own entity, have its own story and be its own statement.

His objective is to create an organic object that evolves like a living thing with truth and imperfection. His process of working allows for a contemplation of a cycle of existence to become imbued in to the work. Not a beginning with an end but a journey where genesis leads to dissolution, and on once again to genesis. Something eternal akin to alchemy. 

Richard Nott gained his Fine Art degree at Lancashire Polytechnic and his MA in fine art at Reading University. In 1985 he worked as an assistant to Andy Goldsworthy on site-specific sculptures in the Lake District. He was gallery assistant at the Royal Academy from 1986-7 and at Oldham Art Gallery from 1991-2. He won the South West Arts Visual Arts and Photography Award in 1994. He gained a residency at the 12th International Weeks of Painting in Slovenia. Exhibitions have been extensive and international notable included numerous solo exhibitions at Anima-Mundi over a long and fruitful working relationship, ‘Art Now Cornwall’ at the Tate St Ives and Chashama, Avenue of the America’s, NYC. Richard Nott is represented by Anima-Mundi.